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KBS vacillates on spycam suspect

A scene from ‘Gag Concert’ recording. (KBS)
A scene from ‘Gag Concert’ recording. (KBS)
KBS released an official statement on Wednesday saying it felt great responsibility for a spycam incident involving a comedian who appears on TV show “Gag Concert.” He is suspected of having installed hidden cameras in the women’s restroom inside one of its buildings.

The state-run broadcaster, however, did not apologize for the incident, emphasizing that the comedian was not officially a KBS employee.

“Although the suspect in the case is not a KBS employee, we feel great responsibility that one of the people who appeared on our channel is referred to in recent reports,” said KBS on its homepage on Wednesday.

Police received a report from a KBS program director that she had found a hidden camera in the form of a portable battery charger in the women’s restroom inside the building used by members of “Gag Concert” on May 29. “Gag Concert” had its last rehearsal on that day before the show went on a long-term hiatus following the recording of the last episode on Wednesday. The last episode will air Friday as investigation continues. After the police investigation began, the comedian turned himself in to police Monday, confessing to the crime.

KBS initially denied reports that the suspect was a KBS employee, announcing it would take legal actions against the Chosun Ilbo that first reported the incident. In a follow-up article, the local daily reported that the suspect was a comedian who had appeared on “Gag Concert.”

The suspect is known to have appeared on the show until May. According to KBS however, even if the suspect appears on the show, he is considered a freelancer, as those who pass the KBS comedian recruitment process are given a one-year contract. The comedian in question was accepted in 2018.

According to KBS, while the accused had the title of “KBS comedian,” he should not be considered its employee. Many social media users refuted it, saying word “employee” encompasses people working in their facilities rather than just the workers under KBS salary system and contract.

The announcement by KBS was similar to one it issued last year when Jung Joon-young, a member of KBS show “2 Days & 1 Night,” was charged with distributing illegal sex videos, prompting criticism that KBS was not taking greater responsibility.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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